Building characters

Lots of people wonder where authors get their ideas for characters. First, let me say that all my characters are fictional, however, I’ve used character traits from people I’ve met over the years to flavor my characters and give them personality.

My art career has brought me in touch with so many different kinds of clients—some quirky, some exciting, some just plain weird! But, one thing about each of them….they all have smiles on their faces, and they all have some sort of characteristic or story to tell that make them unique: A kooky neighbor who piles up beer cans in the back yard and uses the pop-tops to line their driveway. (Which, by the way, I used in my book “Alana Candler, Marked for Murder,”) or, someone with a cat who loves to plunge himself into the Christmas tree every year so he can play with the ornaments he knocks off. But, the most interesting person I’ve ever met was a woman who thought the police, the sheriff’s department, even the government was spying on her—twenty-four hours a day.  She closed her windows, blinds and curtains immediately when the sun went down, and made sure her cell phone was off before she talked about anything worth hearing. She even moved twice to throw the hounds off the tract! Now THAT is paranoia! I can’t wait to put that character trait in a book! What fun to mold and bend one little idiosyncrasy into an intriguing character with a colored personality! And THAT’S what makes writing fiction so exciting!

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